Omnath, Locus of Creation
– Zendikar Rising
October 12, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
By the time you read this, Omnath might not be in Standard any more. I must admit I don’t play that format any more, particularly not on Arena where most of the data about him comes from. But you don’t need to play any particular format to grasp the snowballing advantage that he generates, or the fact that you can often trigger him three times in a turn with surprisingly few cards spent on doing it (Fabled Passage and the like help a lot, of course). There are plausible ways to cast him in every format, all the way to draft and sealed, and even just his “fair” use puts you out of reach of just about every aggro deck ever.
(Isn’t sitting there and generating advantage without having to do anything in particular the thing that enchantments are supposed to do, not creatures?)
One of the linchpins of the deck that’s been playing demolition derby in the current standard, Omnath 4.0 is an interesting design that tends to do way too much with the cards surrounding it. At first, a four-mana 4/4 cantrip seems pretty underwhelming, even before factoring in its restrictive color requirement; four colors of mana is a hard ask, even if two of the four are the dominant Standard color pairing at the present. And the escalating Landfall triggers read as more “cute” than “good” at first; while four life each turn is fun, it’s not going to win you a game anytime soon, right?
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Omnath, it turns out that the Temur Adventures shell is a perfect fit for our four-limbed incarnation of living mana. Between Lucky Clover’s doubling of Adventure spells, Beanstalk Giant, and Lotus Cobra doing obscene things, the deck produces a crazy amount of value and mana in a surprisingly short amount of time, and it’s almost trivial for Omnath to get to his third landfall trigger. Four guaranteed damage each turn is a quick way to end the game, even if Omnath himself isn’t the strongest body, and the extra mana keeps the crazy value going. The big elemental is the linchpin of an absurdly efficient engine, and it’s comical to see how a supposedly hard-to-cast creature has warped the format, even with Uro banned.
It’s likely that Temur/Omnath Adventures is going to take a Ban List hit soon; whether or not it’s Omnath is not clear as I’m writing this, but being the linchpin of a Standard deck that’s warping the format and seeing play in older formats, in spite of a supposedly restrictive casting cost, is bad news overall. It gets stronger with fetch lands and with any sort of ramp, and it’s not hard to make a deck that Omnath 4.0 can abuse to an absurd degree.
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